I want to take a pause from the craziness going on all around us. I do not want to talk about impeachment trials or stupid leftist policies emanating out of Virginia for a day. Today I want to remember a very special man who made it possible for me to be who I am. Today is my dad’s birthday. Herman “Buck” West, Sr. would have been 100 years old today, January 22, 2020. Today is his centennial and I would not be the ardent patriot, warrior, and man who I am, if not for this incredible man of honor, a man of color.
Over the years I have shared many stories of my dad with y’all. I often tell that he never gave me an allowance, but a lawnmower instead. He had some famous quips like, “a hit dog will holler” and “an empty wagon makes the most noise.” But, more than anything else, it was his challenge to me at the age of 15, on the steps of our home — a house that he bought and paid off — that made the difference in my life.
My dad, a simple US Army Corporal in World War II admonished me to be the first commissioned officer in our family. It was that memorable day on the campus of the University of Tennessee in the old Stokely Athletic Center that Corporal Herman “Buck” West, Sr. pinned on the gold bars of his Army Second Lieutenant, his middle son, Allen Bernard West.
This is why I grow tired of the rantings, excuses, and blame of some who feel that they are kept back by America. My dad — and many others — served this great nation at a time when it did not serve them. That is what honor is all about, selfless service.
Dad was rewarded by having lived in the greatest nation the world has ever known and where he watched his son fulfill his dream . . . which is what Dr. King Jr. talked about, hoped for.
So, today, I honor my hero, my dad, on his 100th birthday. He is laid to rest, with mom, in a simple place in Marietta National Cemetery, a fitting place for a great American.
As well, my chest swells with pride today, living in Texas, and awestruck by the honor that is being bestowed upon another man of color, a man of honor.
As reported by Military.com:
“Nearly 80 years after the Navy declined to even name the hero black sailor who displayed extraordinary bravery during the attack on Pearl Harbor, the service’s acting secretary is breaking with tradition to name a powerful aircraft carrier in his honor.
The family of Navy Cross recipient Doris “Dorie” Miller said Sunday that acting Navy Secretary Thomas Modly’s decision to name a carrier for their uncle is an honor. Having the announcement made on Martin Luther King Jr. Day only makes the situation even more meaningful, Miller’s niece Brenda Haven told CBS Sunday Morning
“That’s beautiful,” Haven said, adding, “It has been a long, hard road.”
Aircraft carriers are historically named for U.S. presidents. This will mark the first time a carrier will be named for an African American or a sailor who performed heroic acts while serving in the enlisted ranks. “In selecting this name, we honor the contributions of all our enlisted ranks, past and present, men and women, of every race, religion and background,” Modly said Sunday. “Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. observed, ‘Everybody can be great – because anybody can serve’. No one understands the importance and true meaning of service than those who have volunteered to put the needs of others above themselves.”
Miller is credited with displaying “extraordinary courage and disregard for his own personal safety” to move his captain to safety after the Dec. 7, 1941, Japanese attack. Then-Mess Attendant 3rd Class Miller not only got his mortally wounded officer to safety during a serious fire, but also manned a machine gun to fire at Japanese aircraft until it ran out of ammunition and he was ordered to leave the bridge. Miller was the first black service member to receive the Navy Cross, which was presented to him by Fleet Adm. Chester Nimitz.
“Doris Miller stood for everything that is good about our nation, and his story deserves to be remembered and repeated wherever our people continue the watch today,” Modly said.”
I could not agree more with the closing words of Acting SecNav Modly. If there was one thing I could wish upon America, right now, it would be that there were more men of color, men of honor like Corporal Herman “Buck” West, Sr. and Mess Attendant 3d Class Doris “Dorie” Miller. Simple but principled men from South Georgia and Waco, Texas. These are the role models our young men and women need today, not the sports figures and entertainers who come nowhere close to these types of stalwarts.
At a time when there is so much confusion, chaos, and lack of character in our country, I just wish we could recreate this generation of men. Men who were part of the Greatest Generation, but were far greater for excelling and achieving under the direst of circumstances.
Congratulations to the family of Doris “Dorie” Miller!
Happy 100th Birthday Dad! You are missed, you are loved, and each day I pray to live up to the impeccable standard of honor that you left.
Proverbs 22:6 says:
Start children off on the way they should go,
and even when they are old they will not turn from it.
Your loving son,
Lieutenant Colonel Allen B. West (US Army, Retired)
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LTC West is running for Chair of the Republican Party of Texas! To support his efforts, please visit his campaign website!
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During his 22 year career in the United States Army, Lieutenant Colonel West served in several combat zones and received many honors including a Bronze Star, three Meritorious Service Medals, three Army Commendation Medals, one with Valor device, and a Valorous Unit Award.
In November of 2010, Allen was elected to the United States Congress, representing Florida’s 22nd District.
West is a commissioned officer in the Texas State Guard. He’s Fox News Contributor, former Director of the Booker T. Washington Initiative at the Texas Public Policy Foundation, Senior Fellow at the Media Research Center, contributing columnist for Townhall.com, and author of Guardian of the Republic: An American Ronin’s Journey to Family, Faith and Freedom, and, Hold Texas, Hold the Nation: Victory or Death, and the forthcoming We Can Overcome.